George Eads Takes Leave of Absence From 'CSI'

Fall TV

The drama behind the scenes of "CSI" has reignited.

The long-running CBS crime procedural has faced quite a few cast problems in the past — everything from heated contract negotiations to stars getting fired (and returning).

Now comes news from The Hollywood Reporter that George Eads, who has played Nick Stokes since the series debuted in 2000, is taking a leave of absence after arguing with a writer on the set.

"George Eads will not appear in several episodes during the first half of the season," CBS Studios said in a statement. "We look forward to him returning to 'CSI' very soon."

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This isn't the first time Eads has had trouble with "CSI." In 2004, he and former cast member Jorja Fox were briefly fired during tense salary talks .

This time, Eads — unhappy with the direction of his character — tangled with an eight-months pregnant writer. Word got to showrunner Carol Mendelsohn, and when she met with the actor, he reportedly threatened to quit. Eads's rep did not return a request for comment.

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Eads will be featured in the season's first three episodes, then disappear. No return date has been set. It's worth nothing that when Jennifer Esposito took a leave from "Blue Bloods" last year for medical reasons, she never returned.

Eads is one of just three original cast members left on the show, along with Paul Guilfoyle and Eric Szmanda.

But another original star, Marg Helgenberger, is set to return in his absence. Helgenberger's Catherine Willows comes back in Episode 5, which is the series' landmark 300th episode.

She will be investigating a cold case that "takes our characters back to the beginning," executive producer Don McGill revealed to TVLine. "They have to investigate a murder with the same M.O. and the same suspect from 14 years ago."

"CSI" premieres its 14th season on Wednesday, 9/25 at 10 PM on CBS.